Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rise and Fall

Rise and fall of the waves
where one ends the other begins

Rise and fall of the sun
a ghostly moon coasts the night

Men and women rise and fall
where one ends the other begins

such is life.

Debbie Calverley

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Poem is Worth A Thousand Words

Late Apology
The bees came by the hundreds
and by the hundreds was she stung,

their little shell-bodies working like a net.

And when I saw her dead in the creek
(bee queen of my dream)

it was the first time I feared being found
face down dead like a coward.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

U2 - Fast Cars (Jacknife Lee Mix)

From "Wood's Lot" - how true…..

Has the Image Killed the Imagination?
Professor Ben O'Loughlin
Try to imagine the future. You can’t. You’re reading this. The screen has you trapped. Another image is catching your eye now too. The image is crowding out the future, a continuous drain on attention. Politics is dreams, goals, plans. It needs the future. Without time to imagine, what is left of politics?
Backdoor Broadcasting Company
Academic Podcasts

via —synthetic_zero

Friday, November 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013


They' were the ones 
with the numbers
one through ten
they paraded themselves 
in the ring
holding the numbers high

It just goes to show -
you and I
we never stood a chance.

Debbie Calverley


"The person who said time heals all wounds didn't know what the hell he was talking about"

Survivor - Jonestown Massacre

Monday, November 11, 2013

Zig Zag

Through alleys of avoidance
streets shiny with rain
footsteps ever closer
can't allow the catch

Every step disconnects
unleashes the dog
unbridles the mare
unclips the wings

The mind undoes 
such thoughts of absence
memories spill their stories
to the dark

A face forgotten reflected
in a puddle time distorted
with confusion as to how
it rips away

hearts in pieces

-Debbie Calverley

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Blues

What do you say
when you don't know what to write
or how to write it ?

What do you say
when you no longer know
who you're writing for?

What do you say 
when all there is to say
has been said?

Tell me, do you hear the wind
in the sycamore tree
the one where I carved your name?

Is anything left?
Tell me.

Debbie Calverley

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Christmas 2001

His father was dead.

The ground was frozen
and he was trying to plant a tree
after drinking a half bottle of whiskey
he had found in the house
on top of the drinks at the party.

He had quietly stumbled out
around 1 am without telling a soul
and wandered until finding the place
deserted and dark as if lying in wait.
Crying a little, his face to the window

he spotted the tree, the one his dad
had wanted to plant so he left the house
resolved to put it in the ground
and unlocked the shed to find the spade.
The ground was too cold

and he chopped and chopped
to no avail, only ice splintered
and shook his arms until they trembled.
It was close to Christmas, 2001
when I knew him well.

Snow began to fall in great white flakes.
He was somebody.
He was nobody.

His father was dead.
He was trying to plant a tree.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Letter Not Sent

We could have been friends -
if you hadn't been lost
in the smell of her raven hair
her eyes like two lost lockets
full of black and white photographs
letters penned by hand
poems she never knew how to write.

So, do you still have
Neruda's poems?
The fountain pen?
That first bottle of ink?

I should have known 
when I saw you drop it -

that everything precious
can be replaced.

Faint Music

Maybe you need to write a poem about grace.

When everything broken is broken,   
and everything dead is dead,
and the hero has looked into the mirror with complete contempt,
and the heroine has studied her face and its defects
remorselessly, and the pain they thought might,
as a token of their earnestness, release them from themselves
has lost its novelty and not released them,
and they have begun to think, kindly and distantly,
watching the others go about their days—
likes and dislikes, reasons, habits, fears—
that self-love is the one weedy stalk
of every human blossoming, and understood,
therefore, why they had been, all their lives,   
in such a fury to defend it, and that no one—
except some almost inconceivable saint in his pool
of poverty and silence—can escape this violent, automatic
life’s companion ever, maybe then, ordinary light,
faint music under things, a hovering like grace appears.

As in the story a friend told once about the time   
he tried to kill himself. His girl had left him.
Bees in the heart, then scorpions, maggots, and then ash.   
He climbed onto the jumping girder of the bridge,   
the bay side, a blue, lucid afternoon.
And in the salt air he thought about the word “seafood,”
that there was something faintly ridiculous about it.
No one said “landfood.” He thought it was degrading to the rainbow perch
he’d reeled in gleaming from the cliffs, the black rockbass,   
scales like polished carbon, in beds of kelp
along the coast—and he realized that the reason for the word   
was crabs, or mussels, clams. Otherwise
the restaurants could just put “fish” up on their signs,   
and when he woke—he’d slept for hours, curled up   
on the girder like a child—the sun was going down
and he felt a little better, and afraid. He put on the jacket   
he’d used for a pillow, climbed over the railing   
carefully, and drove home to an empty house.

There was a pair of her lemon yellow panties
hanging on a doorknob. He studied them. Much-washed.   
A faint russet in the crotch that made him sick   
with rage and grief. He knew more or less
where she was. A flat somewhere on Russian Hill.   
They’d have just finished making love. She’d have tears   
in her eyes and touch his jawbone gratefully. “God,”   
she’d say, “you are so good for me.” Winking lights,   
a foggy view downhill toward the harbor and the bay.   
“You’re sad,” he’d say. “Yes.” “Thinking about Nick?”
“Yes,” she’d say and cry. “I tried so hard,” sobbing now,
“I really tried so hard.” And then he’d hold her for a while—
Guatemalan weavings from his fieldwork on the wall—
and then they’d fuck again, and she would cry some more,   
and go to sleep.
                        And he, he would play that scene
once only, once and a half, and tell himself
that he was going to carry it for a very long time
and that there was nothing he could do
but carry it. He went out onto the porch, and listened   
to the forest in the summer dark, madrone bark
cracking and curling as the cold came up.

It’s not the story though, not the friend
leaning toward you, saying “And then I realized—,”
which is the part of stories one never quite believes.   
I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain
it must sometimes make a kind of singing.
And that the sequence helps, as much as order helps—
First an ego, and then pain, and then the singing.

Robert Hass

Flower that Drops Its Petals

from The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems

Natalia Toledo

Flower that Drops Its Petals

I will not die from absence.
A hummingbird pinched the eye of my flower
and my heart mourns and shivers,
does not breathe.
My wings tremble like the long-billed curlew
when he foretells the sun and the rain.
I will not die from absence, I tell myself.
A melody bows down upon the throne of my sadness,
an ocean springs from my stone of origin.
I write in Zapotec to ignore the syntax of pain,
ask the sky and its fire
to give me back my happiness.
Paper butterfly that sustains me:
why did you turn your back upon the star
that knotted your navel?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

For S

My friend, she wants to live
on an International Space Station
so that she can write poetry
without that feeling of gravity

she would sit facing the stars
as far from earth as possible
the set of her shoulders determined
to never again look back.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

For One Whose Love Has Gone

          There was a crack
    in ecstasy; it split the oak
with flameless fire.
A raptor left good bones
in the divided tree (the spine?
  of a mouse?) & then flew off
     for a muffled sanctuary . . .

Some say get
     over it
, but there you are,
surrounding it. Slant sun
     shines in. Bring it along,
bone-reader, bring the banquet.

               F O R   C N

Brenda Hillman

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Laughing Heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Charles Bukowski

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Star Bright Star Light

The vast majority of humanity
will not drive a Mercedes
try a flying car
vacation on a private beach
see the sun rise without heartache
see the sun set without a sense
of hollowness

They won’t own a second home
on the coast in Spain
or even fly there to shop
at the Supermercato.
They won’t be lucky enough to find
a broken umbrella in the rain
or swim in an ocean naked.

They won't fly to the moon to tee off
or visit Mars to discover water.
I don’t think many will see a lion
running free or witness a full blown
eclipse on some dark continent.
Will we all write a poem
to hide in some quiet place?

When will we stop to look up 
freely wish upon a star
that appears and disappears
fleeing quickly between the clouds?

Debbie Calverley


End of day
a fleet of sandpipers
rush the waves
advance retreat
so many footprints
remind us we were
all once there

for just a little while
the empty shore
breathes out

Debbie Calverley

The Poets at the Ball Game

                                             Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting
                                             and baseball is like writing.
                                                   You can never tell with either
                                                         how it will go
                                                         or what you will do . . .
                       —Marianne Moore, "Baseball and Writing" (1961)
are not used to such good seats:
behind third base, a perfect view,
outfield grass as green as Lorca's Verde
que te quiero verde
. They feel a bit like
Miss Moore, honored by the Yankees in '68
to toss out the first pitch,

dream of "Poetry Day at the Park":
a personalized sonnet for the first
one hundred fans and free haiku for kids.
The crowd raps out rhythms with minibats,
signed by the poet laureate, count iambs
during the caesura of the seventh inning stretch,
recite heroic couplets for the hitter who launches

a long fly beyond the upper deck, filled
with visiting midshipmen, white uniforms a blur.
They cheer with the sound of frothing waves,
a thousand cranes in flight.
A forest of blank pages tossed aloft.

                                   Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
                                                Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
                                                                                       August 9, 2005

Left to Itself the Heart Could Almost Melt, Mend

When the Amish girl gets off the bus
she walks over and stomps
her small black boot into a drift
in front of McDonald's.
She is maybe new to winter
this far north and wants to know
its depth. Its give. Oh,
be careful. It already has you
by the night of your dress,
violet-black with white-dotted print.

Jill Osier

Sunday, September 1, 2013

One Step Further

Work with me here
And let's be real
Did any of that shit
Ever really happen?

Work with me here
There's a pile of people
Wanting to know
Doorbell constantly ringing.

Work with me here
I've forgotten your face
Even though you're still around
I just can't make it out.

Work with me here
Everything is jumbled together
Into one hot mess
A virtual plate of scrambled eggs

Hearts still beating
We are all left falling
Nothing left to catch
Here, work with me.

Debbie Calverley

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Paris 4 Reunite

RIP Seamus Heaney


A rowan like a lipsticked girl.
Between the by-road and the main road
Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance
Stand off among the rushes.

There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Without Proof

Suppose my grandmother 
whose book I write in
still alive
wrapped in the red shawl
of her ninety-five years
fake flowers on her grave.

Suppose she had never been born-
who would have taken her place?
Six children; three his, three hers
seventeen year old young hands full
with mud of the land.

Now consider something or someone
you love is gone forever
or that they simply had not happened-
would you stop to listen
to the sound of a train telling stories
in the rain and in that instant

- Debbie Calverley

Monday, August 5, 2013


How many days
has your sun set
your sun risen
over fields full
of surprises

a wildflower here
a polished rock there

bend of a horses neck
a paw at the ground
and yet everything appears
crickets never ending

I'm Not Here

and you were never
not a great wind
a blazing sun
trees waving goodbye
a dying summer

thin air
shifts eludes
even fingertips
Now try and forget

I was never there.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.

- Bob Marley

Richard Hawley - The Only Road

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Latest Project

CN North American Training Facility in Winnipeg - opening soon.....

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Yellow Goblins

Yellow goblins
and a god I can swallow:

Eyes in the evergreens
under ice.

Interior monologue
and some voice.

Weary fears, the
usual trials and

a place to surmise

Fanny Howe

Sunday, July 14, 2013


You'd never know 
his legs were missing.
She had him tucked 
coyly beneath the nested pine, 
chin propped on a tiny hand.
He sported a painted yellow shirt
a blue hat, both worn from years 
spent in so many gardens.

She never did find his legs
yet there he was content
to lie about in the summer heat
never having to run again.

- Debbie Calverley

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Midnight Runs Rain

Chirp of cricket rub
bee flower hum song

blackbird red winged
in thin reed lift off

train whistle blows 
weather blue to grey

she remembers his voice -
midnight runs rain.

Debbie Calverley

Friday, June 21, 2013

Void and Compensation (Field Guide)

Page one's a white space for thinking;
even here among the evergreens
beyond the living room and the white noise.

The guide held firmly in the hand means to see—
Through mist and wind made visible by branches,

do you name a thing and lose other options, counterlives?
Are you in turn a season named and filled with music?

Say then the weather changes and takes the singing elsewhere?
Of fidelity and proximity, the latter is a watchword.

A window. A looking out through lenses
that magnify and conjure up an other

in your place or by your side. Two forms. Two matters.
From expectations of pure pop in flowering trees

down to knee-high scrub, with hope and faith
I tried to come to terms with what was common.

I heard and sang back a little brown bird:
Wish-wish, my little clay-color, coo.

I tried to name what I saw and how I felt
and map a purple hurt as presence through winter.

And then that bird was gone. Or the song,
or the singing, and what's left

is a field where birds might happen:
a mind between living room and evergreens,

A blind so we first see without being seen—
not mentioned in books, found only in looking.

Michael Morse

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Psalm 20

When you appease my heart, I've nothing left to say,
my agitated words fall fast asleep.

I don't even remember my petty dramas—
your lullaby sings me awake.

Others assure me I imagine this, that to receive you
the wound in my chest must stay fresh.

And that the anguish of others reopens the cut,
and that it's not good to suppress their clamor.

It's not that they're wrong, you come to me this way, too,
but don't let them touch your dawn upon my life,

Those few seconds of dawn when everything is taken with adoration,
and you come back from elsewhere, you return from someone else's darkness.

translated from the French by Jennifer Grotz

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Space Junk

There is a point on every mission
when something must be jettisoned

into the thin, black air.
Nothing likes to be abandoned,

no one likes to be compared.
There is a point when the plan

lifts from our control panels
and shimmers while we go ahead

and stare. How long do we
call the plan the plan after it

disappears? There's no such thing
as a few minutes alone. There's no

such thing as making up your mind
when everything is determined:

the rate of our turning, our distance
from the sun. I followed you here

with my naked eye. You've lost
your white glove. It travels now

like a comet burning up the sky.


Sunday, June 9, 2013


I am being followed by a flock of winged words,
plagued by their black eyes and beaks.
Their tongues are sparks in the blue air
and I have heard their songs so often that I almost
understand the sense beneath the notes.
They make intricate iambic patterns round my head,
a lyric latticework, a tilt of time.
At night they roost along the window ledge,
and though I've nailed my window closed,
my last waking thought is always looking for its rhyme.

Moyra Donaldson

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I feel the skull behind my ear
photo of you in Hawaii
photo of you in a purple cap
in a lawn chair at the lake

Can a woman go skiing
alone in Tehran?

Debbie Calverley

Saturday, June 1, 2013

George Quasha: from “Speaking Animate”

G. Quasha: Axial Drawing – Dakini Series 2012
1                                              words under pressure bleed original sense

The trouble with paradise is you never want to be away from home.

I make what calls me out.
All gone before you know it.

Words may drop passing color yet seeing you here now are born again, and again.
Closing a word in the mouth feels the sound until the tongue can’t stay still.

To unmask is to go silent.
Language makes no promise to communicate.

An articulated sound has it own dream in the ear.
Her presence in the room gives aroma to the syllables I voice.

Now she’s ready to draw eros from foreign bodies.
It starts by focusing on the sounds beyond hearing, still felt.

By she I mean who speaking animate configures.
This is the time of alternative obscurities to see through.

Through thoroughly, as a word weighs.

2                                                          a voice scape landing

They’re playing the perfect music for our movie, Rushing to Meet Anima.
The rhythm’s spacious enough I slip in the back door without a trace.

The drama is gathering soundless. It lives like that.
I never let go of her hand in my other world.

This I learn from you who read me back.

They say ancient Irish saw serpents where there aren’t any.
I descend from there to here where I see what I say even unsounding.

Writing I extinguish my voice but there is calling you hear.

Falling apart is syntactic.
Writing at the edge of collapse is surrender.

Saying depths in a tongue all hands puts the cards on the table over the edge.
Time to stop asserting order where it’s already in waiting.

Write this off as of a poet or one inspired by being written through.

3                                              time has its ins and outs
A sacred grove takes refuge in the voice.

A language hasn’t come through to itself if being inside isn’t self-instructive.
Syllable by syllable earwise spreading orders the cells.

What configures signs, time switching subjects on the line like my life.
It seems the same is saying there were no same.

A journey ever worth taking records itself within your hearing even now.
“I will always have been here before with or without you.”

Gnoaxial poetics, for want of right naming, finds pulse in grammatical drift.

The more she says the more I find configures.
The new singular noun soon plurals.

I’m beginning to recall the forgotten adventure, long since signed for.
The time of our playing recalls us back together.

This very time turns into space in our search for self true north.
Her tone is dissecting the next move out before.

The tense is two timing us.

The experience beyond reportable experience is self sensing.
Real work is indefensible.

4                                               seeing through hearing

Now to dowse the poetics of the poem to come.
We hold these principles to be self evident—in order to be self evidence.

Configuration is parthenogenetic. 
We’re talking fate here. 
High flying biology. Bios mating logos. 
Flowering, percipiently imaginarily auto-erotically speaking. 
It sees and knows what it’s doing not a moment before.

We call back to our other us through the air pressed into sound.
I’m just trapping animal life in its resound here.

Our group gives the dream time.
A date’s charge belongs at heart to anytime.

Our only mythical bird is fleeing the page as we speak.
It makes a very very very fast line out.
Sculpting hands in the saying.

Not every finger is instantly intelligible.
Signing principle, it calls itself, and hands itself over.

5                                              undesigning music

Watching your dancing feet is its own dance.

What if everyone talked funny at once.
I’m willing to avoid special pleading but ignored distractions will have their say.

Sudden behaviors may be of unaccountable origin.
Tongue the surface long enough and you bleed old demons long in exile.

Learn from the dog to dig up old shame, then bury it where you want it.
If you find a guy’s personality be sure to send it back.

Meet you where we know each other.

Beautiful music takes me away rather than throwing me further in.
Clamoring lines cannot disguise the sound of one mind slipping.

The center is holding just fine, yet the periphery is forgetting where it is.

Freudian slips of the hand put your mouth on your money.
Also note paradisal memes at the tip of the slip.

Life goes on … off … on … off.

6                                              scared sacred

What am I hearing with these other ears?

Prepare your mouth with pre-carnal intentions.
Poetry valorizes childhood because children make language.

First language.
It gets you little again to be verbal.

I can’t deny my excitement upon reaching the threshold of carnality.
No more hovering over secondhand bodies.

The heart is the organ of consorting.

Life is intelligent
 means it knows where it’s going but I don’t.
Fearful asymmetry.

Contacting the word’s core intent to mean itself is poetic insistence.
Logophagi know that certain morphemes are more delicious than others.

No truth behind the poem, only forward in its own before.